I just received your letter with the enclosed 100 francs.
And I shall start for Hoogeveen in Drenthe. I shall go farther
from there, and I shall write you my address from there.
So in no case write to The Hague any more.
And I would ask you to let C. M. know that I am leaving
here, because, as you say, he might write me. If he has done so
already, it might be best for him to ask the post office for
the letter back, because not knowing what my next address will
be, I can only give it to the post office or to my landlord
Friend Rappard has also started on his trip, has left
Drenthe already, has almost reached Terschelling. He wrote to
me from Drenthe: “The country has a very serious
character, the figures often reminded me of studies of yours.
As to the living there, one certainly can't live more cheaply
anyplace else. And I think the southeast corner (the part I
mentioned to you) the most original.”
Theo, I certainly have a very melancholy feeling on leaving,
much more than would be the case if I were convinced that the
woman would show energy, and if her willingness were not so
Well, you know the main facts now.
For my part, I must push on, otherwise I should break down
under it, without benefiting her any further.
Unless she becomes more active of her own accord, that is to
say, steadily energetic and not doing things by fits and
starts, she will stay on the same unsatisfactory level, and
even if she had three friends to help her instead of just me,
they would not be able to achieve anything unless she
But the children I am so fond of? I could not do all that
was necessary for them - if only the woman had been
However, I shall not bore you with it any longer, for I must
go on, “quand même.” Prudence compelled me
not to risk taking a supply of colours with me, as out there I
shall have to pay for my luggage immediately when it arrives,
and for lodging and railway fare. The sooner this can be done,
So if you hear anything, write to me as soon as you know my
address, and of course I agree to the proposed arrangement of
sending only part of the 100 francs if you are hard up,
awaiting a more favourable moment.
I cannot help thinking that perhaps C. M. will do nothing at
At all events, brother, it was very energetic and wise of
you to send this at once, for now I can go there already and
look around a bit, and even without help we shall certainly be
able to manage there.
Therefore many thanks, and rest assured that it will prove
to have been a good measure. My intention is to stay there, for
instance, till you come to Holland next year. I should not like
to miss your visit then. But in this way I should see all the
seasons of the year and get a general impression of the
character of things in that part.
I have provided myself with a home passport, valid for
twelve months. With this I have the right to go where I want,
and to stay in a place as long or as short a time as I like. I
am very glad that I can hurry on now, for in this way we help
ourselves. I reckon 50 francs for board and lodging there, and
the rest for the work; that's a great difference from what I
could do here. So even if we have no help from others, we shall
not mark time.
Goodbye, I still have a lot to do today - so please drop a
line to C. M. I shall send you my address soon, perhaps
tomorrow night if all goes well.
Adieu, a handshake,
Yours sincerely, Vincent
Not long ago you wrote me, “Perhaps your duty will
make you act differently.” That is a thing I thought over
at once, and because my work so indubitably demands my going
away, my opinion is that my work is my duty, even more
immediate than the woman, and that the former must not suffer
because of the latter. Last year it was different, now I
am quite ready for Drenthe, but one's feelings are
divided and one would like to do both things, which is not
possible under the circumstances because of the money and,
more than that, because she is unreliable.
At this time, Vincent was 30 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 10 September 1883 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 322.
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